As the old adage goes, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
Well, not for babies who have checkups scheduled for what seems like every other day for the first two years of their lives. Can we just set up a tent in the waiting room at the pediatrician’s office? We need a bunk-in option if that’s available, please.
Kellan had his 15 month “well baby” doctor appointment the other day and I felt like the doctor was more interested in poking and prodding me than him. Poking and prodding with her words, that is. And her angry caterpillar brows.
I like her, I do, but I wasn’t prepared for her hidden surveillance camera eyes. And my mom (who accompanied me to the appointment) and I on the way even studied our child rearing notes and pop quizzed each other on the words and sounds and movements he’s been making to be able to rattle them off to her during her drill sergeant portion of the exam.
It didn’t matter. Our preparation meant squat. Halfway through the appointment, after I was calling off orders to Kellan dance, monkey, dance! to show her his development and illustrate his abnormally-high-IQ-Steve-Jobs-brilliance (kidding, typical mom thing to say, right?), she started in with the “Hmm, OK, I’ve noticed”s. As in, “Hmm, OK, I’ve noticed you saying ‘no’ to him. I prefer ‘uh oh’ when a child does something he or she shouldn’t.”
Oh really? OK, cool, well, I prefer NO and I’m his mom. So I guess there goes that argument, right? Is he all set with his shots now, bitch, because we’re leaving. Thanks!
Reprimanding him with a gentle “uh oh” to me makes it sound like it was an accident when his tiny, clenched fist punched Moe The Bulldog in the butt. It wasn’t. (Kellan loves Moe’s butt. He’s deeply intrigued by Moe’s tightly wound, cinnamon bun swirl tail. I try to keep his wandering mini-hotdog fingers above the tail. My efforts do not always prove successful.) A firm “NO no punch” sends the message I’m looking to portray. Did Moe have it coming to him? Most likely. His 60 pounds of wagging flesh have swiped the baby right off his meatloaf feet at near-concussion speeds several times since Kellan started walking. So yeah, a few munchkin punches might have been in order. But that’s [somewhat] besides the point.
During the appointment, the doc also shushed me. Hard.
I was bouncing Kellan on my lap in an attempt to distract him from the stethoscope clamping to and burrowing in his chest like an ice cold leech when I remembered another question I had for her. “Should I be concerned about the…” SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. *Finger tapping my forearm as if the urgent gush of hot, wintergreen-gum-covering-tuna-and-not-covering-it-all-that-well air escaping her mouth wasn’t enough to get the point across and make me shut up.
I get it. When you work with kids all day everyday you start to talk to just about everyone you encounter like they, too, are kids. I don’t take offense to that. I just make a mental note not to do it myself. I spend a lot of time alone with Kellan all day everyday but I make sure to use my big girl words when another adult enters my world. You know, like, “Mommy go potty, kaayyy?” when Tim comes home from work, opening the front door and bellowing to ask where I am.
And while we’re on this train of thought, why why WHY do all of our sentences start with “Mommy” instead of “I”? It’s frightening. An epidemic. “Mommy do this” and “Mommy do that.” What the what? Kellan knows I’m his mommy, why must every previously “I” sentence begin with “Mommy”? My identity has been sabotaged by this kid. And I let it happen. I’m the enabler. I’ve been sucked into Auto Mommy Do Mode. Do dads do this? “Dada get you a ball.” Maybe? I’m going to pay attention and see if my husband falls prey to this same habit. I have a feeling it’s more mommy-centric. We’re freaks. But what else is new. (Don’t answer. This is my blog and that’s a rhetorical question. Notice how I didn’t even use a question mark.)
Anyway, to get back to the dreaded doctor visit, she also made it sound like we keep Kellan outdoors like a dog or an indentured servant of some third world country. (I hope that’s P.C. It could be the start of another Nellism. Keir? Thoughts?) She said, “I see he already has some color from being outdoors. His skin needs to be protected – it’s clearly very sensitive.” Oh, it is? I usually just chain him up with one of Moe’s collars and leash him to the garage during the day in nothing but a diaper under the blistering sun. He likes it. Gotta toughen that skin up so it doesn’t burn anymore, doc, come on. Ever heard of a base tan? Zoom Tan will only let us go once a day so I have to do it this way.
Really, this child wears everything but a black knit face-mask when my mom or I take him out to play. It doesn’t matter if it’s 85 and humid. He wears a long sleeve hoodie, long pants, knee socks and sneakers. He wears long underwear underneath it all plus a baseball hat with earmuffs over top and wood-shop goggles. Every square inch of him is slathered in sunscreen if we’re out in peak sun hours. I use a roller and paint the sunscreen on him, right over his layers of clothing and up into his nostrils in case he breathes in the rays of sun. I also dance around him holding a beach umbrella several inches from his head to cover his every move, just to be sure.
Maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but, suffice it to say, I’m very careful about protecting Kellan’s skin from burning. But. Thank you for the jab anyway, doc.
I could go on and on. And on. This appointment was full of funny [annoying, condescending] incidents.
One last one: The doc mentioned how no matter how hard Kellan yanked on his penis, it would never fall off. Contrary to what I might be thinking. (Keep in mind on this one, she brought it up. Out of the blue. I said nothing, as frankly, Kellan’s more interested in playing with the hunks of mold peeking out from crevices around our tub than pulling on his privates. Most times his buddha belly hides it anyway.) Either way, thank you for that very important Anatomy/Life Fact, doc. That was totally keeping me up at night – worrying his family jewels might separate from his body after a good, hard tug and drop off into the bathtub. I just figured if that indeed happened, it’d grow back like the tail on a gerbil. Or he’d become a girl. Fortunately, his name works for either gender. One step ahead of you, doc. *followed by an ignorant, backwoods hillbilly chuckle, a la Goofy